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PUCL, June 2007

Letter to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister

[ See also, PUCL meeting with Chhatisgarh CM ]

-- By
Kavita Srivastava, National Vice-President, PUCL
Ilina Sen, Social Researcher and Academic
Asha Shukla, Senior Journalist

To, Dr. Raman Singh, The Hon. Chief Minister,
State of Chhattisgarh, Raipur.

20 June 2007

Subject: Release of Dr. Binayak Sen

Dear Sir,

As you are aware, Dr Binayak Sen, National Vice-President of the Peopleís Union of Civil Liberties was arrested by the Chhattisgarh police on 14 May 2007 under various sections of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Today is the 38th day of Dr. Senís detention, and the police, despite having no evidence, have also decided to book him under sections 120(B), 121(A) and 124(A) of the IPC.

Dr Binayak Sen has been one of the most respected human rights defenders of the country. His work in Chhattisgarh, through which he repeatedly tried to bring to the notice of your government the excessive and unwarranted use of police power in the name of resolving the Naxalite problem, has been acknowledged in India and abroad. As you are well aware, even the Apex Court has taken cognisance of the problem of Salwa Judum.

It is the duty of every human rights worker to bring to the notice of the public the human rights violations of both state and non-state actors. Quite contrary to the impression given by the police, Dr Binayak Sen and PUCL have also on many occasions condemned the deaths caused by Maoist violence.

He has also repeatedly brought to your notice that a dialogue with all affected persons including the political party workers, NGOs and Naxalites was overdue and could be the way out of this tragic situation. Dr Binayak Sen, who represented an objective middle ground distinct from both parties, is now being accused of supporting Naxalite violence in the state.

The only evidence that the police claim to have is the various visits made by Dr Binayak Sen to meet undertrial Narayan Sanyal in Central Jail, Raipur. This 70-year-old undertrial had brought to the notice of the jail authorities, national and state human rights commissions and various human rights groups his health condition and his desire to get legal aid as is his right under Indian law. These visits in jail were in the due process of law and in the presence of the jail authorities, as provided for in the state jail manual.

We are shocked that the central jail authorities have classed Dr Binayak Sen as a hardcore Naxalite criminal (vide letter No 2770/V.Warrant/07) even before the closure of police investigations and filing of chargesheet, let alone trial. This act of the police and jail authorities is against the fundamental principles of natural justice, and will vitiate the process of just adjudication. We hope you will instruct the police and jail authorities accordingly.

We would also like to bring to your notice the malafide action of the police when the independent witness appointed by the court was prevented from being present during the examination of the CPU at CFSL, Hyderabad. On reaching Hyderabad, Adv. Saurabh Dangi found that the IO was not present and also unavailable on phone. As mentioned in the report filed by Adv. Dangi in the court, the authorities at CFSL denied any knowledge of the case. Furthermore, repeated applications for a copy of the hard disk have been ignored by the police.

Finally, we would like you instruct the police to immediately cease the misinformation campaign meant to vilify the fair name of Dr. Binayak Sen, Dr. Ilina Sen and other activists.

We hope, Sir, that you will see the merit of our arguments and ensure
The immediate release of Dr. Binayak Sen
The withdrawal of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, which has shown itself to be liable to be misused by the police. An objective enquiry into the displacement and violence caused by Salwa Judum.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

Kavita Srivastava, National Vice-President, PUCL
Ilina Sen, Social Researcher and Academic
Asha Shukla, Senior Journalist

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014